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April/May 2014 (vol. 10/6)

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Research Plus

COPD causally linked to occupational exposure

A systematic review of 25 population-wide and 34 industry- or occupation-specific studies finds strong and consistent evidence for a causal association between occupational exposures to vapours, gases, dusts and fumes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Evidence quality was assessed using the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network protocol – with all studies rated as at least 2+ (high quality, low risk of bias). Odds ratios ranged from 1.08–2.13 in population-based studies, 1.70–3.80 in studies of inorganic exposure, and 1.20–8.86 in those of organic exposure. Dose–response relationships were found for a range of exposures/occupations, including cotton textile, wood workers, welding, coal mining, foundry work, farming and non-mining industrial dust.

Occupational chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a systematic literature review. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health 2014; 40(1): 19–35.


Occupational Health at Work April/May 2014 (vol. 10/6) pp18-19